New York Trip Post 2: What to pack, Camera Information

If you haven't read post #1 about our trip to NYC, read about it here. Today,  I wanted to share a few things about our choices for packing, the camera lens I rented and maybe a few other things because, man, it's hard to remember everything. Especially almost two weeks later. 


We chose to pack only carry on luggage. At first I wasn't sure about this because we were going to be gone for 6 full days. I didn't know if I could pack enough in a carry on, but we decided this would be best because we were making plane changes, and none of us wanted to be stuck without luggage. If it was with us, we knew it wouldn't happen. We also boarded early so there was a very slim chance of them asking us to check our bags if there wasn't room in the overhead compartments. We also knew that we could always buy a duffle bag there and check it if we bought stuff that wouldn't fit. We ended up with the right amount of clothes (even 1 outfit that didn't get worn). I did run out of socks and had to buy some, because I wasn't anticipating having to wear tennis shoes the whole trip. Story on that later. So, we each carried on one piece of luggage and then our purses/backpacks. 

TIP #1: If possible, travel with carry on luggage. Yes, it can be a pain to haul it everywhere but you always have it handy.

TIP #2: Wear easy to remove shoes and have everything ready to remove from bags before you reach the security checkpoint.

What makes it easy to do carry on for a 6 day trip? Plan your outfits ahead of time. You can usually gauge the weather enough to know what you'll need. It's summer so the nice thing is, clothes aren't as thick and are easier to pack. Pack a few extra undergarments, and maybe an extra shirt or two. Choose a couple pair of shoes that can be worn with everything. I brought a sandal and a tennis shoe. Usually the bottoms we could wear more than once and could mix and match. And as is our motto sometimes, if you need something, you can always buy it, like socks, for me. We knew we'd be out for the whole day and wouldn't be going back and forth to our hotel to change. I'm sure we could've but we didn't want to waste time. 

TIP #3: Plan outfits out ahead of time. Pack a few extras but be realistic. More often than not people pack way too much!

I checked the TSA website so I knew what could be brought, what sizes, and how it should be packed. Liquids etc...needed to be in quart size ziploc bags and removed from suitcase before going through the checkpoint. I had a very old school mini tripod, that held us up because I didn't think to take it out and it looked suspicious...oops. I didn't make that mistake twice. Planning this way also makes it quicker to get through the checkpoints. Wearing shoes that are easy to take on and off is helpful too. Oh, and please, yes, take your time getting your stuff, but try to move it further down the belt/section so that others can get their stuff. We encountered one guy who literally took forever getting his stuff from his bins, not at the very end of the line, but right by the conveyer, putting it in pockets, etc..I just wanted my stuff and to keep moving. I just wanted to say "sir, pick up your bin and move it to the very end, or out of the way". I didn't though. If you choose to check your luggage, always pack an extra pair of clothes to carry on just in case you have an issue. 

TIP #4: To save time and issues, know ahead of time what you can and cannot bring, especially if you are not a frequent traveler and think of those around you. Have anything that needs to be removed from a bag at the ready, so it's easily accessible. 

My daughter brought her laptop so they could watch a movie on it and also so she could load pictures she took and possibly edit them on the plane. I brought my tablet and a few magazines for entertainment. The girls also purchased wifi for $8 for the longer legs of the flights there and back. I'll admit, I do not enjoy flying. It's not comfortable, but I try to bring things that will help me make the best of it. 

(the girls backpack choices)

My daughters friend purchased an awesome small backpack that had a lot of safety features that made it perfect for travel. The brand is Pacsafe and I've included a link below to some of their bags. My daughter brought a regular backpack purse to hold her stuff in and free up her hands. I was a little worried about this when walking around NY because you hear stories of people cutting the bags, etc. but she didn't have any problems. Sometimes I think we become too fearful. Be smart, not paranoid. One thing we did was always walked in a way that we could see each others backs, whether that was planned or not, it just happened that way. 

Tip #5: Travel smart, not paranoid. 

We also packed light snacks to have on the plane and ate light between flights if we had time. We just didn't want to feel heavy. 


(here you can see the waist strap on the camera bag. It fits about up to a size 14/16, which I am so it's adjusted as far as it will go)

Last year for my birthday my family pitched in and purchased me an awesome Heidi Haden Hipster Camera bag. Find it here. Heidi is a local to us gal who took both of my girls senior pictures and is just an all around amazing woman, oozing with creativity and ideas. When she came out with this bag I said "hey, this would be great to take to NY...hint, hint". The beauty of it is that it has a clasp around the "hips" that takes the pressure off the shoulders, and it's just a pretty bag. I used this as my "purse" because the front has a section where I kept my credit cards, cash, extra SD cards, etc. The inside held my camera body, a small 50 mm 1.8 lens and a rented 28-300 mm 3.5 lens. There was also a spot inside to hold my tablet and a few magazines. It made it a bit heavier than normal, BUT with the hip strap, it took the pressure and weight off my shoulders. In my carry on bag, I had a small black cross body purse that I brought to use on days I didn't want to carry the camera bag (some days I just carried the camera around my neck the whole day). It was hot and so I mostly just used my small black purse and we took turns carrying the camera. I love this bag though. The straps come off so you can just carry it by the handle if you want, or forget the hip strap and just use it as a cross body bag.

For Valentines Day hubby got me a new Nikon D750 from B&H Photo, (which by the way has a large store in NYC, but I never got to it and I just looked on the was only a block from where we stayed...aaarrgghh), which is a full frame camera. My old camera is a D7000 and is a crop sensor camera. There was a kit lens with that camera that is an 18-200mm DX, and I also have a Nikon 70-300 that came with an even older camera I had, but I wanted more of a range in zoom without carrying around a lot of lenses and not having to worry about paying attention to the crop sensor border in the 18-200 lens. I wanted a lens that was geared for a full frame camera. SO, I opted to rent a lens. The local camera shop where I typically rent lenses from didn't have one that I wanted, so I went through
Borrow lenses. I was a bit nervous about renting an expensive lens to travel with, because while the price is reasonable, if something happened to it, this particular lens would be $1,000 at least to replace. But I just bit the bullet and did it. I am working towards saving for a new lens geared toward a full frame camera so this was a good opportunity to try one out that I might purchase. I really liked this lens. This company had some great reviews, and a few photographer friends have rented from them so I felt pretty confident. I went with a 10 day rental, leaving me two days on either side of travel just in case something happened with delivery or travel. 

I was pleased with it's performance and it wasn't overly awkward or heavy. 

(my girl getting low to get those tall buildings)

Tip #6: If you're a photography enthusiast don't be afraid to rent lenses from a reputable place and make sure you have a bag you love. 

(we really wanted a lens that would be great for taking night shots, and it didn't disappoint.)

I was more than happy with our luggage and camera gear choices for this trip and really can't think of anything I'd do differently! If I had the money, I would've rented two lenses, but this one for 10 days cost me $117. I would probably invest in a better, small, light weight tripod, but we seemed to make everything work with what we had. 

Stay tuned for the next post, with stories and adventures. 

With Joy Unquenchable,


  1. Completely agree with your only taking a carry on advice. If I'm traveling abroad and can check a bag for free I check an empty one through. On the way home I cram all our dirty clothes in there and carry our purchases home on the plane. In addition to anything I might need for an overnight. You always have to prepare for the worst and I have had to use that stuff more than once. But if it's domestic and they are going to charge me 25 bucks each way...nope. I'm too cheap for that. I can do 12 days from a carry on if I have to. You are rocking these travel posts! Woot!

    1. That's great check an empty bag and send home dirty laundry in it. we usually fly Southwest and so we can check one bag free, but I just really didn't want to mess with baggage, or having to go back to the airport to pick up late luggage.


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